Madarao Kogen plans to be open until Thursday 31st March. Tangram Ski Circus plans to be open until Sunday 3rd April. Read more ...
Sunday 27th March 2016, 8:07am
Morning from Zao and while there's a fair bit of cloud around early on, it feels like it's starting to get clearer.
Tomorrow and Tuesday are forecast to be clear and sunny with temperatures getting a little higher, getting close to double digits by around the middle of the week. Should be getting colder after that, and it looks like there might even be the chance of some fluffy snow. Or possible not so fluffy snow! We'll have to wait and see.
Today is the last day of operations for a handful of lifts at Zao Onsen, though many continuing on of course - some hopefully into May. Info as below.
Information as of Sunday 27th March 2016 (subject to change)
Planned closing dates of lifts at Zao Onsen (subject to change due to snow conditions)
Open until today: Onsen Number 3 Parallel AB lift Onsen Number 4 quad lift Ryuzan pair lift Nakamori Number 2 pair lift Diamond Number 1 pair lift
Open until Thursday 31st March: Nakamori Number 1 triple lift Diamond Number 1 lift Omori quad lift Yokokura Number 2 pair lift Astraea Number 1 pair lift Astraea Number 2 pair lift Astraea Number 3 pair lift
Open until Sunday 3rd April: Onsen Number 1 pair lift Onsen Number 2 quad lift Shobunuma Number 2 pair lift
Open until Sunday 10th April: Mikaeri pair lift Yokokura Number 1 pair AB lift
Open until Sunday 17th April: Kurohime Number 1 quad lift
Open until Thursday 5th May: Chuo Number 1 pair lift AB Chuo Number 2 pair lift AB (daily until 3rd April and then Sat/Sun and holidays only) Katakai triple lift (daily until 3rd April and then Sat/Sun and holidays only) Paradise pair AB lift (daily until 3rd April and then Sat/Sun and holidays only) Utopia Number 2 pair lift
The Zao Ropeway, Sky Cable gondola and Chuo Ropeway are all open throughout the year (apart from specific maintenance periods)
Lifts not mentioned in the above list have already closed for the season. Read more ...
Sunday 27th March 2016, 8:25am
Blue sky, some cloud
Yesterday was a very fine day weather wise. Some cloud appearing as the day progressed but generally it remained sunny with lots of blue sky. A good spring day.
It's keeping quite chilly in the mornings with a good frost. That'll quickly go as things warm up in the sunshine though. A high of around 8 or 9 degrees is forecast for today down at base.
This morning once again we have lots of blue sky and just a bit of scattered cloud. (Some reports have a bit of rain due sometime, though there's no sign of that just now).
It is a good morning for the big hot air balloon that is going up (from the Number 2 car park) at Hakuba 47. It's ever so colourful and probably full of hot air as well. If you have a 1 day lift ticket, you can get 50% off the normal price. So that would be 1250 yen with the 50% off. It's only from 7:30am until 9am and so this report is actually probably a bit late for that this time (sorry), but they will be doing it once again on Sunday 3rd April and also on Sunday 10th April. I wonder why it's only until 9am?
Resort news as of 8:25am on Sunday 27th March 2016 (where available, all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: All courses at Hakuba 47 remain open. The Tree Riding Zone is closed. Official snow depth: Upper: 180cm Base: 65cm
Hakuba Goryu: All courses open apart from Snow Diving, Adventure, Cosmo River, Sunny Way and Straight Whisky. The Toomi area will be open until 9:30pm tonight for 'nighta'. Official snow depth Alps: 232cm Toomi: 90cm Iimori: 45cm
Hakuba Happo-one: The lower Nakiyama, Shirakaba North, Central Course, Kokusai, Sakka, Olympic Course II and Kita One areas are closed. The Nakiyama South and Shirakaba South lower courses remain open to get back down to base. All of upper mountain courses remain all open. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 155cm Nakiyama: 40cm
Hakuba Cortina: Courses open - Ikenota, Mt Hieda Forest, Mt Hieda 1, Itadaira and Ipponmatsu. Mt Hieda Ridge, Mt Hieda 1, Mt Hieda 3 open as 'self-responsibility area'. Official snow depth: Top: 155cm Base: 63cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Champion and Kane-no-naru-oka areas limited due to insufficient snow. Other areas all open. The top Tsugaike Ropeway is now open for spring season (extra charge required). Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 206cm Maruyama: 45cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 20cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Just the 5 line and Gondola lifts remain open. Open courses: by1, Sunny and Paradise (part), East, South, Gezan (part) Official snow depth: Upper: 100cm Lower: 20cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: Open courses: Hakunori Family, Wakaguri Central, Rabbit, Wakaguri Rinkan and Satomi Chuo. Official snow depth: 50cm
There is no new snow to report this morning, rather mostly blue skies and warmer conditions.
It's fairly calm here at base right now though stronger winds are forecast for later in the day today. Hopefully not enough to affect lift operations.
Mt Yotei is looking rather lovely with not a cloud around. Hopefully that will help for the ongoing searches for the person who got caught up in an avalanche on the mountain yesterday from what I hear. Apparently a group of people were snowboarding on the north eastern slope of the mountain when the avalanche occurred. I very much hope that story ends well.
There is a chance of a dusting tonight perhaps but generally over the coming week gradually warmer temperatures are expected.
Spring may bring with it finer weather conditions but with the warmer conditions and thawing starting, new dangers arise. Take care out there especially if you are venturing out backcountry.
Resort specific lift opening news at time of posting (subject to change during the day):
Niseko base 6am: -2℃, no snowfall, bluebird. Moiwa 838m: -2.1℃, W1.2m/s. Annupuri 1000m snowpack 310cm. Hirafu peak ridge 1250m: -4℃, no snowfall nor snowdrifts. Benkei cape: SSE3m/s, Kamui cape: S13m/s, 1014hPa, 1.5m waves.
The atmospheric pressure gradient is flat and the sky is clear. The temperature is high from the morning and thaw will speed up during the day. The surface is hard in the morning but will soften up during the day. Beware of cornice falls and full depth avalanches.
A person got buried in an avalanche in NE slope of Mt. Yotei yesterday, we hope he’s rescued safely.
All gates will open from the morning. Listen to the ski patrol’s instruction before stepping out of the gates. Avoid gullies when touring up to 1300-1500m slopes to seek fresh snow. The snow conditions and avalanche hazards vary from aspects and elevations. Surface slab slides can happen anywhere anytime when the conditions aligns. Slabs of wind affected snowdrifts are dangerous anytime. Always be prudent and make conservative judgments. Back country skiing/snowboarding involves many risks and consequences can easily be seriously big.
Official resort snow depths as of Sunday 27th March 2016:
Niseko Grand Hirafu plans to be open until Thursday 5th May. Niseko Hanazono plans to be open until Sunday 3rd April. Niseko Village plans to be open daily until Sunday 3rd April, and then from 29th April until 5th May. Niseko Annupuri plans to be open until Thursday 5th May.
Night time floodlit skiing ('nighta') has now finished for the season.
The sun is out, and it's blue skies all around. Temperatures here at base at 0C when I got up and set to gradually rise to around 7C by later on.
More sun is forecast for tomorrow too and over the next few days we can probably expect temperatures to rise a bit. I wouldn't expect any snow, certainly not in lower areas anyway...
I was just reminded, it's Easter Sunday isn't it? Easter isn't something that is observed here in Japan of course, but if anyone has any chocolate eggs they want to give to me I'll be up on the Yamabiko runs around lunchtime! ;)
Official info at time of writing on Sunday 27th March 2016 (subject to change):
New snowfall as reported by the resort since yesterday:
Yamabiko: 0cm Uenotaira: 0cm Hikage: 0cm
The following courses remain open:
Yamabiko A Yamabiko B Yamabiko C Yamabiko D Yamabiko E Kogenashi Uenotaira Paradise Bunabayashi Yunomine A Yunomine B Rinkan Utopia Challenge Hikage Nagasaka Isemiya Kitsune Nagasaka connecting Mukoubayashi connecting
The following lifts plan to be rested today:
Kandahar pair Hikage Number 2 pair A line Nagasaka Four Nagasaka Gondola connecting pair Karasawa pair
Yesterday it remained sunny for lots of the day; more cloud appearing in the afternoon and it was actually quite chilly higher up.
This morning there's some cloud around against a backdrop of light blue skies, and the sun is out. As we approach 9am it's 4 degrees and a high of around 10 degrees is expected later this afternoon... and perhaps a few spots of rain.
Today is the last day of the season for a number of resorts in the area including Ishiuchi Maruyama and Yuzawa Nakazato. NASPA Ski Garden is going to try to continue on for another week with just one lift and one course remaining open.
Details as we have them included below and we'll check and update that every day from now on.
I was looking at some photos from last season. On this day last year, there was still close to an incredible 2 metres of snow piled up in my back garden. It's bone dry today, and there hasn't been any trace of snow there for over a week. It just goes to show the huge contrast between last season - when some resorts were actually extending their seasons - and this season.
Hopefully next season we'll get back to like last year; even an 'average' season will be good. Average for this region still means metres of snow piled up at the side of roads in town.
Kagura resort plans to be open through until late May... just how long they can continue with the snow this season will be interesting to see.
Resort official snow depths (Sunday 27th March 2016) and any specific news at time of writing:
There are now patches of ground on view showing on lower slopes around town - though covered up temporarily yesterday with fresh snow! Some more than others. The snow situation means that some courses/areas at resorts are now closed. If you are planning on visiting, I recommended that you check with the individual resorts for their up-to-date details. You can find their websites from the links below. Note that snow cover is not a problem higher up so there's still a lot of skiing and boarding left.
Resorts in Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma:
GALA Yuzawa Plans to be part open until Sunday 8th May 140cm
It's blue skies and sun this morning at Grandeco. There was no recorded snow last night, but the base still holds at a solid 2 meters.
With no new snow in the forecast for the coming week (and as we get into April, new snow of course being less likely) today might be a good time to enjoy what's left.
The wind is next to none today and temperatures are expected to warm up throughout the course of the morning.
All the courses are groomed packed snow, which should warm up to spring conditions before noon.
The Junior Olympic Mogul Team is competing today on the Lavender 28 course and its free to view. The event starts at 9:30am with the qualifying round and finals for Women's starting at 1:55pm. This is the 15th Annual National Mogul event and the first time it has been held in Fukushima Prefecture.
The Snow Park team is finishing off the new 50m spring session halfpipe, flat table top and skate style obstacle park. This is scheduled to open on the 1st of April. The main beginner and intermediate park area is still open and freshly groomed.
Roads up to Deco this morning are fairly clear, but please come prepared.
All lifts operating
All courses open except [H] Center 33 and Lavender 28
Ski resorts around Mt. Bandai are announcing their planned closing dates:
Alts Bandai / Urabandai ski resorts - until today.
After 27th, resorts that remain open in the region will be Grandeco, Nekoma and Minowa.
Nekoma will be closed between 19th-21st and 26th-28 Apr but these resorts all plan to be open until 5th May ---- but whether they can do that or not will totally depend on the snow levels of course, which are less than usual and less than expected. We'll just have to see how things develop over the coming weeks.
It's not too warm even with the spring sun and a bit of a breeze keeping things feeling quite chilly. Still looks like there may be the chance of a bit of snow tonight.
Beyond that, mostly clearer skies again in the coming week.
Spring season dates for Shiga Kogen resort areas (subject to change):
Sun Valley Both Sun Valley lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 3rd April.
Maruike The Number 1 triple lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April. The Number 2 pair lift plans to be operating until Sunday 27th March.
Hasuike The triple lift and ropetow plan to be operating until Sunday 27th March.
Giant The pair lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April.
Higashitateyama The Gondola plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April.
Bunadaira The Hoppo quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April. The Bunadaira quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 27th March (* closed on 22nd and 23rd March).
Takamagahara Mammoth The quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May (* Saturdays and Sundays only from 11th April until 28th April). The triple lift plans to be operating until Thursday 31st March. The pair lift plans to be operating until Thursday 31st March (* Saturdays, Sundays and holidays only in March).
Nishitateyama The Nishitateyama lifts plan to be operating until Thursday 31st March.
Tannenomori Okojo The quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May.
Ichinose Family The Ichinose quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May. The Ichinose Number 2 pair A lift plans to be operating until Thursday 31st March. The Ichinose Number 2 pair B lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May. The Ichinose Number 3 quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 27th March (* closed Tuesdays).
Terakoya The Terakoya lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 8th May (* Saturdays and Sundays only from 4th April until 28th April).
Ichinose Diamond The Ichinose Diamond quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May (* Saturdays and Sundays only from 4th April until 28th April). The Ichinose Diamond triple lift plans to be operating until Sunday 27th March (* Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays).
Ichinose Yamanokami The Ichinose Yamanokami plans to be open until late March, depending on snow conditions.
Yakebitaiyama Currently details are unconfirmed.
Okushiga Kogen The Okushiga Kogen Number 1 pair lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April. The Okushiga Kogen Number 2, 3 and 4 pair lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 8th May. The Okushiga Kogen Number 6 pair lift plans to be operating until Sunday 24th April. The Okushiga Kogen Gondola lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May.
Kumanoyu The Kumanoyu Number 1 pair lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April. The Kumanoyu Number 2 pair A and B lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 8th May. The Kumanoyu Number 3 quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April; and then on 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th April and from 29th April until 8th May.
Yokoteyama & Shibutoge The Yokoteyama Number 1 Sky A and B lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 8th May. The Yokoteyama Number 2 and 3 Sky lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 8th May (and perhaps beyond depending on snow conditions). The Yokoteyama Number 4 pair lift plans to be operating until Thursday 5th May. The Shibutoge lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May (and perhaps beyond depending on snow conditions).
It’s another beautiful day here at Appi Kogen. Sunny skies, light winds and a temperature of zero outside my door. It should remain like this for most of the day with clouds rolling in later this evening.
The forecast calls for cloudy skies at least until Thursday and temperatures in the zero zone. No snowfall is anticipated though.
It’s the last day to use the Sailer Gondola and second Quad lift. Tomorrow they’ll be closed for the rest of the season so today would be an ideal day to get out and have some fun.
Currently planned operating lifts:
- Appi Gondola - Central Number 1 quad - Number 2 lift A - T Bar - Number 3 lift B - Number 3 lift C - Number 4 lift - Sailer Gondola - Sailer Quad - Vista quad